If, for some reason, there’s anyone out there still wondering why publishers keep putting microtransactions in games that probably shouldn’t even have microtransactions, a recent interview with a former BioWare designer might shed some light on that question.
Manveer Heir, who worked on Mass Effect 3 and Mass Effect: Andromeda, recently told Waypoint Radio (via GameSpot) that the multiplayer card packs in those games were a surprisingly big business for publisher EA — and maybe single-handedly responsible for EA’s shift towards a more microtransaction-driven development philosophy.
According to Heir, “when Mass Effect 3 multiplayer came out, those card packs we were selling, the amount of money we made just off those card packs was so significant—that’s the reason Dragon Age has multiplayer, that’s the reason other EA products started getting multiplayer that hadn’t really had them before, because we nailed it and brought in a ton of money.”
How much money, you ask? Well, Heir stated that he’s “seen people literally spend $15,000 on Mass Effect multiplayer cards.”
Heir goes on to state that the amount of money EA made from those multiplayer card packs alone could account for why BioWare’s newest IP, Anthem, is a multiplayer-focused, open-world experience that leaves plenty of room for microtransactions, and why EA shut down Visceral Games and shifted development of its single-player Star Wars game to another studio.
What this means, according to Heir, is that “the linear single-player AAA game at EA is dead for the time being.”